tv Inside Story Al Jazeera October 30, 2014 11:30am-12:01pm EDT
po pouring from the world trade center. with the relatively tiny american force the taliban was overthrown and the u.s. and allies got to work pacifying the country and creating the conditions for the establishment of a new central government. now more than 13 years later allied forces are packing up and leaving trying to make a functioning country out of a fundamentally dysfunctional one at great expense of blood and money. we look at what worked, what didn't and what remains to be done. afghanistan's new president ashraf gandhi is visiting beijing hoping to start a new chapter with china, afghanistan is looking to build better infrastructure for national table.
>> in realizing the security, stability, and development of the nation. >> china is looking for further investment. >> it days a lot that gandhi's first trip abroad as president takes him to china. it's it is it's nearest neighbor promising aid . including $330 million for professional training, $5 million for humanitarian assistance, and 500 scholarships for afghans.
after a razor close vote, and fraud accusation delayed his office for six months, china comes to afghanistan very much in transition after 13 years of war. this week a major operations to turn over to the afghan force s. ten people were killed. 24,000 u.s. troops are still in the country, but pratt barac president barack obama plans to withdraw half of them by january. joining us now from kabul is al jazeera's jennifer glasse. jennifer, thanks for being with us. let's begin with most
dangerous. >> 2014 has been a pivotal year for them. they seem very concerned about security, and a lot of them breathe a sigh of relief when of a raff gandhi signed agreement with united states. they're aware that it's going to be a very small force. only 12.5000 troops, a far cry from the 140,000 troops who were here at the very height of the surge in 2011. people are secured about their security, and it's kind of ironic, ray, that these troops have pulled up the u.s. marines, and pulled out of heilman province. there are 350,000 afghan security forces here, but they've had a brutal fighting
season taking very heavy casualties. i was there on saturday, and in northern heilman province, the taliban still control large areas of land. nothing in the cities. nothing in the towns, but a lot of the rural areas. we've seen copy production skyrocket this year. there is a lot of security that afghan security forces will have to take care of as they take full control of the country without the nato support system they've had. >> 350,000 is a major force. is there any confidence among rank and file afghans that this newly constituted army will be able to protect them? >> i think there is a lot of concern. they're proud of their army but they're aware it's a very young army and they really don't have everything that they need. the air force is a fledgling
force here, a small fraction of what nato could afternoon them. and of course in this country where you have wide tracks of land, where you have mountainous areas, the air sport has been crucial here. i was in northern heilman province, and the only way to get there . they know it's going to be a difficult fight. they're hoping to learn a lot. the whole idea the reason that they have waited until now to close its big bases was to give the afghan forces as much support as possible through the fighting season, which ends about now. as the snows start to fall and the mountains and fighting
starts to slow down. >> during this most recent government transition, americans could read in their newspapers and see in their broadcasts final words were hamid karzai, and he was very rough on the united states, and why it was in afghanistan in the first place. was that view shared by regular afghans. was there gratitude or more ambivalence in the country. >> i think many afghans are very happy that the united states came in, and it's nay owe allies came in. there have been a lot of anger . he said that raids that were insensitive to the culture here, and there are afghans who are
anger about that, but many are happy that the united states came here. they know that it brought money and prosperity that they didn't have before, and drove out the taliban a brutal regime here. >> jennifer glasse joins us from kabul. when we return we'll dig deeper in the hits and misses of 13 years of afghanistan. now that the u.s. and allies are packing up to leave, what kind of afghanistan are we leaving behind? stay with us. >> on the stream, >> six years after the financial crisis began banks recovered, last year raking in 32 billion in over draft fees our they gouging the tax payers who bailed them out? >> the stream on al jazeera america
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hopes doomed in the start? with us, our guests david, let me start with you. looking back to the earliest days of the afghan mission, and what we had in mind can you, now that it's almost over, say that the united states accomplished do? >> well, i can say with a lot of confidence that our number one goal when we went to afghanistan was to make sure that we were not attacked against from al-qaeda or other terrorist groups. that goal has been accomplished, but i would caveat that so far that this is not a story that is over. there is still a lot to be done. while we did achieve our number one goal, there are a lot of americans
running rail system and maybe staying another hundred years could accomplish that, why do you say that we're leaving too soon. >> our goals were never to transform afghanistan into a modern country in a decade or two decades. that would have been impossible, but it was to make a lot of progress. first of all in the security front, afghanistan now has its own army that is able to fight, that has been fighting and dying to defend it's own country over the last sever years, and has been doing a good job of that. secondly it's a country where the vast majority of afghans , they want to be a modern country. the elections they held was impressive. but this is a country that started at the bottom of the table. they were the poorest country in the world. they had the worst record for infant mortality, and they were threatened by a dedicated foe.
the last part has not changed. we're leaving too soon and in a disgraceful way. almost every major afghan city has surveillance balloons over keeping watch, using highly technical means to ensure that terrorists could not infiltrate the cities. we've taken those down, and as a result, the city of kabul has had more rocket attacks in the last three weeks than it has had in the last three years. >> they've done a lot to fix a lot, but they're leaving too fast. >> when you look at the united states and it's allies in afghanistan, what do you make of
what they've accomplished? >> i think david touched on a lot of issues, and i don't want to repeat those, but i think the most important thing is that afghanistan has been transfor transformed. the majority of the country have access to mobile phones. today everybody is in touch with their families, whether abroad or afghanistan. this kind of discussion of communication brings up political awareness that is very healthy for a democracy i understand deadlines have been created, and that the united states will eventually leave. it has not solved the purpose of democracy. when president obama allocated troops in 2010 and issued a deadline that they will come back, afghans were questioning that. they're still questioning
whether the troops are leaving in 2015. one thing that the media has done, they brought the pictures of islamic state and iraq. the events in iraq brings trepidation to afghans. the events were nod broad cast internationally, but they were brutal. i read an article about a province that spoke about trips. there was a ten-day . >> there was no desire from the international community to be engaged.
a country that still has a way to go. >> you mentioned being able to see pictures of the islamic state. in afghanistan watch what is going on in another part of the world. how come that doesn't create a resistence to that political element that gives the taliban no soil in which to dig roots. you would think people looking at that on television would say, a, we don't want that kind of thing here. but b, when these guys come around they should have no food, no water, no supplies. no way to continue to b be a parasitic in the country. >> i'm glad you raised that. the popularity of the taliban,
they are the most unpopular group in afghanistan. the population of 30 million people, the latest report from the central intelligence agency said that the taliban with their their al-qaeda and islamic movement, all of that, it's about 20,000 to 30,000 people. 20,000 to 30,000 people it's a fringe. they're very unpopular. every time they go to a village they have to intimidate people. it's not that they want to have a political discussion and ask the elders to come, have a political discussion about what's going on. this is not the character of an islamic group, which the taliban are. every time they enter a political process that takes away their character of being islamists. >> david, numbers have been pouring out of afghanistan for the last 13 years. electrical generation.
miles of telephone lines, cubic acres of water in irrigation, all kinds of ways of measuring our investment and the results that it's getting. we spent about $753 billion in afghanistan. one of the things we spent a lot of money on was opium eradication. it seems like over the last decade the most money we spent the more opium got grown. and a record crop is coming out of afghanistan this year. why? >> i think on the opium side we, the united states, always took second place. we sub credited that out to the united kingdom. we had to lead the efforts in the beginning. it was never the first priorities of the united states. the biggest area of our failure was helping to develop rule of law and governance.
afghanistan during the period of the war against the soviets and the civil war produced a class of warlords and group of people who were so horrible to the population they often welcomed the taliban in their place. when we went in, we adopted some of toes people. we kept some of those warlords around, we used them because it was cheaper, and it was a big mistake. a lot of those people are here. when the taliban come in and say we're going to be tough on people, but we're not going to be as bad as those other people that the united states supported, sometimes they get purchase with the local people. throughout our time in afghanistan, we spent way too much time focused on military issues and not enough time focused on political governance and rule of law issues. >> right now, by an estimate from the united nations office of drugs and crime more than 90% of the entire world's supply
of opium comes from poppies grown in afghanistan. why have the allies been so unsuccessful in irradicating the crop in that country? >> that's an excellent country. in 2008 when i was in vienna i was representing the government, and i went to a lot of policies that they they had. most of the policies were convoluted and did not correspond with the character of afghanistan, but there had been policies in washington that the government of afghanistan did not agree, like the aerial spray that would bring back the memories of the soviets ' occupation, soviet armies would come and yellow gas a village. president karzai was reluctant in accepting tha accepting that. there have been other policies useful or optimal. i remember i was reading this
report that they have built a lot of prisons. they were prisons in provinces without a rule of law or having a judicial process for people who are i in the narcotic business. >> we'll be back with more inside story in just a moment. when we return we'll talk more with the new information with a recently install government. what countries will be close friends. which countries may yet give support to kabul's enemies. stay with us.
>> i'm ray suarez. we're talking about the u.s. and ally forces leaving afghanistan, and the country's future this time on the program. earlier in this show we showed you the embrace of the new afghan president by chinese premiere. is afghanistan an international free agent now? will it make alliances wherever, and with whomever it likes? or does the united states have an inside track with the people who now run the country? still with us, a former
assistant secretary of defense for afghanistan and pakistan, and former chief of staff at the afghan ministry of foreign affairs and former permanent representative of afghanistan to the united nations. wahid, on the diplomatic front who are afghanistan's friends. >> we have many friends but you spoke of china. china is very important country. it could play an important role in the political reconciliation. as you spoke about the troops leaving, the reconciliation is an important part of afghanistan's survival, but as a democracy survival. china could play an important role. india, i think we have a great relationship with india. president gandhi needs to be very careful that the interests of china and india, there is no divergence
there. obviously, india having a rivalry with pakistan, and china being close with pakistan, could play and make afghanistan ground for regional rivalry. we need to make sure that we avoid that, and i think president gandhi is very aware of that. i think we can use this to pressure islamabad. i was involved in discussion with the taliban two years ago going back to doha. when we sit down, afghan to afghan our conversation is great. we agree on wonderful issues. as soon as i leave, the next time i come in somebody else has changed their mind. the taliban not being independent, makes it very difficult for afghans to enter into reconciliation. china could played an important role with islamabad, and that would serve as economic interests.
i think also further americans' interest and china's interest in afghanistan is similar. >> similar, but chinese just didn't spend three-quarters of a trillion dollars on afghanistan the way the united states did. is it galling for former pentagon official to watch the chinese ride in on a whitehorse to look down the road of future profits after the americans sunk costs not to mention 2350 lives lost there? >> well, in terms of u.s. and china, one of the key points of the discussion was afghanistan, they reportedly agreed that it was in each country's interest for china to help afghanistan. and as we discussed earlier the u.s. is pulling out and pulling out in a way that is leaving a lot of holes. so president gandhi is looking for ways to fill those holes, and china may well be that filler.
however, i think there's a little bit of short-term thinking in the way this administration is looking at it. they're looking at it in terms we need to leave afghanistan and maybe we'll see if china can pick up the slack. but the chinese are not acting just in the case of afghanistan. the chinese president is looking to expand china's influence all the way around china. looking towards asia and the middle east, if the united states continue to seed ground everywhere around china, our broader geopolitical interests, our stature in the world and our economy can be harmed. i think there is some real danger in the current policies that we're adopting, allowing the chinese to step into a vacuum that we leave behind. >> is afghanistan a fry agent, or is it an ally in any way to the united states? >> it's definitely an alley of the united states. we appreciate the sacrifices
and treasure life. afghans value that. that's embedded in afghan culture. as a sovereign nation it has difficulties and challenges, but it wants freedom and democracy and wants part of the new world order. >> good to talk to you both. that brings us to the end of this edition of "inside story." thanks for being with us. the program may be over, but the conversation continues. we want to hear what you think about the issues raised on this or any day's show. talk to other listeners by logging on to our facebook page. you can send us your thoughts on twitter. our handle is a.j. inside story am. or you can follow me @ray suarez news. in washington, i'm ray suarez.
♪ sweden, officially recognizing the palestinian state during angry criticism from israel. ♪ hello, welcome to al jazeera, i'm martine dennis in doha. also to come on the program, tension in jerusalem after the police shooting of a palestinian, suspected of an attack on a jewish activist. more homes are destroyed in egypt as people are forced out to make way for a buffer zon